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Change of Plans

How many parents dream of their children becoming doctors, lawyers, or engineers? Probably the majority. Sometimes the dreams of the parents discourage the dreams of the children.  


At the age of three my son, also known as the Boy, was taken to see the Popcorn Hat Players Children’s Theatre. The actors use creative comedy and improvisation to breathe life into unforgettable stories, such as the Fables of Aesop, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Sleeping Beauty, and so many other timeless tales. They also allow the audience to join in the fun on stage, and that is where the Boy was bitten by the acting bug.  


He was too young for the acting classes at Gamut Theatre, Open Stage of Harrisburg, or the Grace Milliman Pollock Performing Arts Center. So the Boy started taking over the show at storytime in his preschool class, the library story hour, or even as “Star #3” in the nativity play. We hosted his sixth birthday party at the Harrisburg Improve Theatre, where he strongly encouraged every classmate, cousin, and friend to take a turn on the stage. He has been a part of the OSHKids Performance and Sankofa African American Theatre Companies since he was eight years old. For the past 10 years, his dream has been to become an actor, and I support this dream wholeheartedly. 


In March 2020 the whole world was turned upside down and we were waiting for the world to right itself. It was particularly disappointing for the Boy because he finally had the leading role in a play. He memorized all of his lines in two weeks, and he was so excited to have this opportunity. I encouraged him to rehearse during the beginning of the pandemic, but we soon realized that the Open Stage of Harrisburg was not going to reopen for the season. He was not going to be the lead actor in the play and was truly brokenhearted for the first time in his life.  


The Boy moped around the house for weeks until he was presented with an opportunity to try something completely different. He decided that he wanted to start playing tackle football. Of course, I was against him playing a physical sport because he could break a bone or sustain a concussion. Selfishly I was against this outdoor activity because football season does not stop for cold weather and bleachers are not the comfortable padded seats found in a theatre! 


I would really love to see the Boy perform on a stage again! I want to steer him back to the path we were on, but I know that right now, he is more interested in preparing for the football season. He has started wrestling to get stronger for football. I find myself in smelly gymnasiums and even more uncomfortable bleachers. Unlike watching him on stage, I do not enjoy watching him on the wrestling mats. I don’t want to discourage him, so I go to every tournament. I even bought a padded seat with back support!  


I feel that if you do not support your children’s interest or prevent them from exploring new activities you are blocking them from growing as an individual. Encourage your children to pursue new interests and support them in whatever they choose to do. Give them room to forge their own path and find what makes them truly happy, even if it is not what you planned for them.  


We will all travel different paths in life, some may be rocky, and some may be easy to navigate. However, it is important to remember that you are there to guide your children and not push them in a direction they do not want to go. We can never truly match the footprints made before us. We eventually find our own path. Support your children’s dreams, even if they are not the same dreams that you had for them. We all just have to hope that the path they choose leads them to a lifetime of happiness! 



Tashia James
Tashia James is a single mother of a teenage son. Through her blog, she hopes parents find the fun in parenting even through the most unpleasant moments of raising children. Connect with her on social media or email her at [email protected]

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